10 December 2015 Celebration of Human Rights Day: When Human Rights are Forgotten on the Stage of Political Power

Conflict of interests and massive transactional politics among authorities at elite level has given bad impacts on human rights protection in the past year. This situation is reflected from the absence of significant achievement in the effort of promoting, fulfil, and protect human rights in 2015. At the executive level, the President fails to make his political promise on human rights into realization; meanwhile stagnation is also reflected from the bad performance of legislative members who fail in creating legislation in order to strengthen human rights protection.

Institute of Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) evaluates that the politic of human rights that has been shackled by political interest of politicians could at least be identified from some main human rights issues, particularly those that become Jokowi – JK political promise. As the effort of resolving the past human rights violations cases, government has made a promise to solve numbers of those cases which has been serious issues for the nation. This promise is not only mentioned in the Nawacita Government Vision Mission Program and RPJMN 2015 – 2019, but it is also mentioned by President Jokowi in various state official events. Unfortunately, in the past year the discussion about resolving the human rights violation cases is only to the stage of negotiation at the level of Ministry / institutions, without any clarity from the President on how to solve the cases by taking in account the whole settlement principles.

In addition to the promise to solve the human rights violation cases, and to make the situation even worse, the pressure on resolving the cases in any effort is getting stronger at the grass root level. Various initiatives to reveal the truth and reconcile are suggested by various civil society organization and they are rejected by official state security forces, especially Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and Indonesia Police Forces (Polri). The pressures are given in various ways, start from intimidation, prohibition, dispersion, to criminalization. These actions show that government has different visions related to the agenda to resolve past human rights violation cases, as well as how strong the conflict of interests at the elite level which do not wish for solution.

The implementation of freedom of expression is a part of today democracy system. Criminalization rate on legitimate expression is getting higher, and criticism toward public officers will end in penalties. The promise to amend the regulation to ensure the existence of adequate protection for freedom of expression is not fulfilled. Instead, the new regulation is issued to control the use of social media as a forum of expression, as well as a media of which today is considered as the most effective media to give criticism on various policies. In addition to that, the recent suggestions on new regulations only show that the spirit of restriction and restraint on the freedom of expression.  This fact could be seen from the substance of RKUHP which has over criminalization tendency and prioritizes prohibition not protection. Generally, the enjoyment of freedom of expression that worsened in the past year could be seen not only from the number of human right violation cases, but also from the regression of civilian and political freedom  index, as well as the index freedom of the press, which used to be ‘free’, has now become ‘partly free’.

In the context of basic freedoms protection, such as freedom of religion / belief, government also could not solve various issues of the freedom of religion / belief in the society. There are still a lot of prohibition of building worship places in several region, some even trigger horizontal conflict in that region. Government is still unable to properly manage the problem of intolerance and persecution toward minority groups. The government officials, including security officials and bureaucracy often act as spokespersons for the intolerance groups which demand for repressive action on minority group. Again, in the context of freedom of religion / belief, the obligation of government to give protection is often defeated by the political power interest at the local stage.

The chance of having human rights violations is increasing with the release of government new economic policies in 2015 which have more concern on business sector. Those new policies are prepared by the government without adequate protection framework for its people. President Jokowi’s government let its people to fight openly with the corporations on natural resource management, particularly in the sector of plantation, forestry, and mining.  As the consequences, under today’s government, the criminalization, violence, and human rights violations are very common in the society, especially on indigenous people.

By considering the fact mentioned above of which human rights are no longer have a place on the stage of political power, thus on the world human rights day 2015, ELSAM suggests followings recommendations;

  1. The President as the highest executive have to ensure the implementation of the human rights promise mentioned in Nawacita as his government’s vision and mission which has been accommodated as official state policy through RPJMN 2015 – 2019. Therefore, the President has to conduct orientation on various released plans and policies by integrating human rights principles.
  2. People are waiting for the President to take real action of the policies to fulfil his responsibility as well as to solve the past human rights violation cases. Therefore, the president needs to immediately take real actions to evaluate Attorney General work performance and ensure the legal process on 7 serious human rights violation cases of which until now the legal process are still not solved by Attorney General.
  3. The President has to take quick actions to prevent the violation of freedom of expression by the law enforcement officers, as well as reform the regulations which are used as the excuse for repression.
  4. The President also has important role in deciding human rights political direction, particularly in creating various legislative policies which will become references for state officials in fulfilling their responsibilities.
  5. Meanwhile DPR, as the legislative parliament should guarantee the internalization and integration of various principles of human rights in each policy created. In addition to that, DPR also has to focus on its role and function as people’s representative council by immediately implement national legislation program, especially program which is oriented for strengthening human rights protection.

Jakarta, 10 December 2015